Junghee Lee

Assistant Professor of Neurology
Boston University School of Medicine

VA Boston Healthcare System, 150 South Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02130


Dr. Junghee Lee earned her doctoral degree in Neuroimmunology from Kangwon National University, South Korea. She had a predoctoral fellowship at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and completed a postdoctoral research fellowship at the Department of Neurology at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School in 2003. She joined Boston University School of Medicine’s Department of Neurology in 2005 as an Assistant Research Professor. Now, she is an Assistant Professor of Neurology and Principal Investigator at the Boston University Alzheimer’s Disease Center (BU ADC) and VA Boston Healthcare System. Dr. Lee is the director of the Laboratory for Neuroimmunology and Cognitive Epigenetics. She works on the mechanisms of neuroinflammation in brain disorders. She has published over 60 original research papers.

Research Interests

Understanding pathological mechanisms of brain inflammation can provide important clues that lead to the identification of new biological markers and novel therapeutics for the treatment of neurodegenerative disorders. To this end, she is studying the neuroinflammatory and pathological mechanisms of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) and Alzheimer’s Disease (AD). She has established the state-of-the-art primary culture of motor neurons, astrocytes, and microglia. She is also determining molecular and cellular mechanisms of neuronal atrophy in the pathogenesis of Huntington’s Disease (HD). Moreover, her work focuses on the development of neurotherapeutic compounds and approaches combined with translational (preclinical) study of animal models of HD, ALS, and AD.

ADC Role

Dr. Lee is a basic scientist collaborating with ADC investigators to delineate the neuroinflammatory mechanisms of Alzheimer’s disease.

Awards and Memberships

Dr. Lee is currently the recipient of the NIH R01 Award. She has been awarded the Young Investigator Pilot Award from the Boston University Alzheimer’s Disease Center, Research Grant Award from Les Turner ALS Foundation, and BU Center for Molecular Discovery (CMD) Ignition Award from Boston University. She is a member of the New England Biological Society and Society for Neuroscience.

Selected Publications

Lee, J., Ryu, H., Robert J. Ferrante, Sidney M. Morris, Jr., and Rajiv R. Ratan (2003) Translational control of inducible nitric oxide synthase expression by arginine can explain the “arginine paradox”. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 100, 4843-4848. PMID: 12655043 (featured for the cover illustration of the journal)

Lee, J., Boo, J. H., and Ryu, H. (2009) The Failure of Mitochondria Leads to Neurodegeneration: Do Mitochondria Need A Jump Start? Adv. Drug Deliv. Rev. 61, 1316-1323. PMID: 19716395, NIHMS [142019]

Lee, J. *, Kannagi, M., Ferrante, R.J., Kowall, W.N., and Ryu, H.* (2009) Activation of Ets-2 by Oxidative Stress Induces Bcl-xL Expression and Accounts for Glial Survival in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. FASEB J. 23, 1739-1749. *Corresponding authors. PMID: 19179380

Lee, J., Kosaras, B., Del Signore, S.J., Cormier, K., McKee, A., Ratan, R.R., Kowall, N.W., and Ryu, H. (2011) Modulation of lipid peroxidation and mitochondrial function improves neuropathology in Huntington’s disease mice. Acta Neuropathol. 121(4): 487-498. [Epub 2010 Dec. 16]. PMID: 21161248 

Lee, J., Hwang, Y.J., Shin, J-Y., Lee, W-C., Wie, J., Kim, K.Y., Lee, M.Y., Hwang, D., Ratan, R.R., Kowall, N.W., So, I., Kim, J-I., and Ryu, H. (2013) Epigenetic regulation of cholinergic receptor M1 (CHRM1) by histone H3K9me3 impairs Ca2+ signaling in Huntington’s disease. Acta Neuropathol. 125:727-739. PMID: 23455440

Lee J*, Hwang YJ, Kim Y, Lee MY, Hyeon SJ, Lee S, Kim DH, Jang SJ, Im H, Min SJ, Choo H, Pae AN, Kim DJ, Cho KS, Kowall NW, Ryu H*. (2017) Remodeling of heterochromatin structure slows neuropathological progression and prolongs survival in an animal model of Huntington’s disease. Acta Neuropathol. 134(5):729-748. *Corresponding authors. PMID: 28593442

Lee J, Kim Y, Liu T, Hwang YJ, Hyeon SJ, Im H, Lee K, Alvarez VE, McKee AC, Um SJ, Hur M, Mook-Jung I, Kowall NW, Ryu H. (2018) SIRT3 deregulation is linked to mitochondria dysfunction in Alzheimer’s disease. Aging Cell. 2018 Feb;17(1). doi: 10.1111/acel.12679. Epub 2017 Nov 11. PMID: 29130578

Lee MY*, Lee J*, Hyeon SJ, Cho H, Hwang YJ, Shin JY, McKee AC, Kowall NW, Kim JI, Stein TD, Hwang D, Ryu H. (2020) Epigenome signatures landscaped by histone H3K9me3 are associated with the synaptic dysfunction in Alzheimer’s disease. Aging Cell. 2020;00:e13153. https://doi.org/10.1111/acel.13153




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